Richmond, Virginia-based hotel developer and manager KM Hotels under President Mayur Patel plans to convert this old Sears store site near the Charleston Town Center in Charleston, West Virginia, into a Hilton hotel. (Photo: Charleston Gazetter-Mail)

THE SHELL OF a former retail anchor store for the Charleston Town Center in Charleston, West Virginia, is about to be replaced with a new Hilton-brand hotel by Richmond, Virginia-based hotel developer and manager KM Hotels under President Mayur Patel. KM Hotels will demolish the old Sears store to build the new hotel, which could be finished in about two years, Patel told the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Patel said his company and Hilton are still discussing which Hilton brand to place in the location, and other design details are pending. He said it might include off-site parking.

KM Hotels chose the site for its proximity to the city’s civic center after a deal to buy the former Holley Hotel from the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority to build a Homewood Suites by Hilton fell through in 2015. “The issue over there was the site and cost,” Patel said. “This one, we have more options for branding and things, because the Holley site wasn’t the best site. This site … I think it’s probably the best site in town, truthfully, from what we know about Charleston.”

With a recent expansion to the civic center and a new sports complex in the area, Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Alisa Bailey told MetroNews of West Virginia there should be plenty of demand for the new hotel.

“All of the hotels in the area, not just the ones in Charleston specific, but all of the hotels in the Valley are going to benefit if we can get these bigger conventions and bigger sporting events,” she said. “I think that we will be able to meet the room demand. I don’t think it’s an overbuild of rooms.”

KM Hotels has developed hotels in other parts of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and several other states. Brands in its portfolio include Days Inn, Knights Inn and Microtel Inn & Suites hotels in Charleston.

The Sears store was one of several closed in April 2017, according to the Gazette-Mail. Bailey said she had hoped for some kind of business to fill the space, not necessarily a hotel, but “a hotel is great.”

The mall, built in 1983, contains 782,720 square feet of retail space, according to financial data company Trepp. JCPenney and Macy’s continue to anchor the retail center.